International Nurses Day

12 May 2024
Paige Cowan-Hall

International Nurses Day

International Nurses’ Day 

May 12th, the birthdate of Florence Nightingale, is celebrated by nurses around the world.  Investing in the nursing workforce not only improves the well-being of populations, but also boosts economic growth by enhancing workforce productivity, strengthening health care systems; and contributing to prosperity. The full value of nurses, beyond their expert and compassionate care, is not often recognised by governments, most of which try to run their health systems without enough nurses and fail to create the number of new registered nurses that they need to provide the health care to which everyone deserves to have free access.  

Introduction of C3 and what we do: 

C3 Collaborating for Health wants to see a world where no one dies of preventable chronic disease because they find it easier to lead healthier lives; eat healthier food, move more and stop smoking. We believe that nurses play a key role in prevention, with their unique position in local communities as trusted healthcare professionals they are among those best placed to promote health and prevent non communicable “chronic” disease (NCD) and raise awareness of NCD risk factors.  

From bringing together nurse leaders to address poor oral health, helping nurses stop smoking, to using CHESS® – Community Health Engagement Survey Solutions – to investigate the built environment they live in, C3 works with nurses to make it easier for them, their families and their communities to lead healthy lives. 

C3’s history with nursing and its intersection with prevention: 

C3 has long recognized the importance of nurses in improving community health. Our founder Christine Hancock enjoyed a career in nursing, including many years as the CEO of the Royal College of Nursing and as president of the International Council of Nurses, before founding C3. This connection to nursing can be seen in C3’s diverse healthcare programme. We have worked extensively with The Burdett Trust for Nursing – reaching more then 12,500 nurses, and with The Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS) – partnering to bring together expert community nurses and C3’s team to work with some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged communities. 

C3 and QNIS: 

C3’s partnership with QNIS is a unique take on our typical community engagement approach by melding together two of our biggest programme areas: our work with health professionals and our partnerships with local neighbourhoods. With other projects, our work with local neighbourhoods uses CHESS®, equipping community members with the tools to evaluate the healthiness of their communities and implement action plans for change. Separately, we have worked with health professionals to improve their own health and that of their patients. Our QNIS partnership integrates the two approaches by bringing nurses out of the clinic and into the community. Witnessing first-hand the environmental barriers their patients face to making healthy decisions will forever shift how they approach health conversations with their clients. 

Five Queen’s Nurses (QNs) were selected by QNIS, and C3 provided a 2-day Masterclass in chronic disease prevention, the built environment and CHESS®. Each of the nurses then delivered CHESS® in their own communities by walking with community members.  

CHESS really raised awareness that where we live influences our choices and impacts our health, not just among the community members, but with the nurses themselves. One nurse stated that: 

The experience has changed my perspective on how I see things in my own community and that mindful walking of your community is really insightful.  Patients really have no choice due to the paucity of resources around healthy eating and active living.  I grew up in this community and I am now noticing how much the neighbourhood has changed over the decades with closed shops, abandoned buildings, and limited activities available. – QN nurse. 

Three of the nurses went on to implement community driven action plans for change in their local areas.  

Elaine, a QN located within a GP practice in Ayr is working to create a safe place for children and families to participate in physical activity and has leveraged the local council resources including the local Parks Department, health and social care and her own GP practice.  They will be building a playscape area and gym trail – with logs, balance beams, climbing activities and a shelter and sitting area. 

QN Alison partnered with Belville Community Garden Trust, a registered charity formed by local people to bring community groups and individuals together. The community members decided on the development of a nature trail.  The trail will include a peace garden and signage to include facts on how to improve wellbeing, healthy eating, and plants. 

Jen is a school based QN who identified Auchmuty, a disadvantaged precinct within Glenrothes, Fife as the location to focus on.  She identified a school group of eight LGBTQ+ teens who were part of a community learning centre and recruited them to participate in the CHESS® process. The group decided on four focus areas for the development of intervention activities: 1) building community connections by offering contact with isolated community members; 2) increasing physical activity; 3) developing healthy living skills; and 4) promoting self-care and wellbeing. The intervention activities have moved from planning to action and the teen group have hosted a tea party and board game activity with senior citizens, building connections with them and are also partnering with asylum seeking families (with teens) and are designing an innovative activity that involves the youth choosing the foods they want to eat, buying the food, and then cooking it together.  

 Learn more about C3’s work with nurses by visiting our website.